Decentralization and District-Level Decentralization in Amhara Region

Decentralization and District-Level Decentralization in Amhara Region

Besfat Dejen Engdaw (Bahir Dar University, Ethiopia)
Copyright: © 2021 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/IJPAE.2021010101
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This paper examines the process of decentralization and district level decentralization programs in the Amhara region. It addresses the decentralization processes in Imperial, Derg, and EPRDF regimes. The depth and degree of decentralization in the three consecutive regimes were different as the process of decentralization in the current government meant to be deeper and extensive and pushed powers, functions, and roles into the local government. The process of decentralization in the current government has transferred powers and functions to the districts. However, the district level decentralization process has faced many challenges. The paper revealed that unclear assignments of powers and functions, executive dominations, upward accountabilities, top-down planning, lack of skilled manpower, lack participatory systems, failure of the councils in holding the executive accountable, lack of adequate budget, lack of revenue mobilization capacity, lack of responsiveness, and accountability among councils were the main challenges that impede in the process of the DLD process.
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1. Introduction

Decentralization is the process of transferring authorities, resources, and responsibilities from the central government to intermediary and local governments. The major motives behind decentralization are addressing failures to foster development, strengthening democracy, provision of effective and efficient services, and combating poverty, which in a nutshell, promotes good governance. Decentralization has four forms; Deconcentration, Delegation, Devolution, and Privatization. It has also three dimensions; Administrative, Fiscal and Political decentralizations.

Meheret (2002) pointed out that one of the aims of decentralization is to devolving government power form the center to the lower tier of governments. As a result of this, nine ethnic-based regional states and two autonomous city-states named Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa are created. The main objective of this regionalization is to empower ethnic groups to develop their culture, language, manage their socio-economic development, and exercise self-rule to bring about the equitable share of national resources.

The process of decentralization in Ethiopia took two phases; the first phase was started in1992 and lasted in 2001. This phase was contented with transferred powers, functions, and resources from the center to the regional governments. This process might have laid a landmark spot in the political development of Ethiopia. The second phase of decentralization began in 2001 which further deepened the process of decentralization as it was aimed at further pushing powers, resources, and functions to the local level governments (Meheret, 2002). The process was undertaken with a program called DLDP (District Level Decentralization Program) upheld by the EPRDF (Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front) government to devolve more powers to the districts. This process, as proclaimed by the EPRDF government, is hoped to enhance the governance quality since it enables the government to be closer to the people and makes the local government more accountable, transparent and responsive to the local people. Therefore, this paper has critically examined the processes of decentralization in the three consecutive regimes and it also aspires to assess the process of the district-level decentralization program in the Amhara regional state.


2. Materials And Methods

This paper is conducted following the qualitative research methodology. The paper examines qualitative data ascertained both from primary (interviews) and secondary sources of data. In order to conduct this paper 53 interviewees (from woreda administrative council, woreda council, kebele administrative council, and kebele councils), federal and regional constitutions, regional legislations, state annual reports, books, articles, and literature were consulted. The ascertained qualitative data are analyzed using qualitative data analysis techniques. Document analysis and descriptive analysis have been employed.

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